Candidates on how to reinvigorate Gladstone’s main street
IT'S a difficult task but candidates have come up with some interesting solutions on how to reinvigorate the Gladstone CBD.
From a rates freeze, suggested by mayoral candidate Michael Fearns, to a new promotional campaign and simply encouraging residents to "buy local", a range of suggestions have been made.
Here are the mayoral and council candidates' responses, in ballot order, to how we should reinvigorate Gladstone's CBD.
Our local preference policy is aimed at supporting local business, however, it is by attracting interest and investment in our Region and job-creating industries that will ultimately boost the economy and business. In terms of the Central Business District, Council has adopted the Jump Start the City Heart initiative which aims to support businesses and investment in the CBD. The City Plaza in Goondoon St is being redeveloped by a local builder.
Council also supported the Gladstone Engineering Alliance interactive walkway in the City Arcade.
Freezing rates for four years is a start. However Gladstone is not immune from the worldwide trend of disappearing high streets and dwindling CBDs. We have to take a reality check and not live in the past but embrace the future.
Get all your CBD traders and business together and start a promotional campaign featuring a business of the week, promoting a single business for that week with all types of media exposure with a view to enticing the public into the CBD. Constant exposure on a weekly basis may just keep bringing people back into the CBD. Encourage and facilitate pop-up shop opportunities.
Continue to have faith and support GCCI. A current three-year commitment has ratepayers providing $165,000 annually to this dynamic organisation. The group is led by experienced local business professionals, and has significant membership of other future-focused business owners and operators. Ratepayers rightly expect a return on their investment and should feel content knowing GCCI supports small and medium businesses and has been doing a great job creating promotions and networking opportunities.
Supporting tourism in the CBD and providing our community with invigorating things to do. What we see in the CBD are restaurants and cafes but not enough to attract other demographics.
Attracting and giving our locals an opportunity to showcase their passion and talents in all aspects and welcome others to do the same.
Of course, if our small home-based businesses are able to afford rent in the CBD a lot of people can get access to a wide range of retail and services and provide more jobs and options for our community.
By promoting and working with council to enhance the CBD, I look forward to continuing the strategy of what is planned for the future upgrade.
I live 5km from the CBD, but still try and shop at the valley when possible. I don't have an answer on what and how we stimulate the CBD. With our sprawling urban spread, our shopping habits have changed. Perhaps when our future industries start employing we will have new entrants to the housing market taking advantage of the multi-level units and inner city living for housing.
We need to shop local and support small businesses. I was a volunteer with the 7 Day Makeover Challenge in Goondoon St a few years ago and projects like that only work when the good people far exceed the vandals.
Local business extends past Gladstone's CBD. It covers the whole region and each centre has its own challenges and considerations, so there's no simple solution to resolving this (and the 100-word limit doesn't do this justice) but, fundamentally, Council needs to reduce red tape, review its rating structure and have policies and planning in place that encourages new business into our CBDs or town centres. Furthermore, Council needs to introduce activities and initiatives that attract people to the region, tourists and new residents, to support the businesses.
This essentially ties into the measures in driving economic growth. We must continue to reduce debt, which would allow Council to reduce rates pressure without impacting on levels of service. We need to continue to refine Council's procurement policy to ensure that more money stays circulating within the region.
Local business thrives with economic growth, and the CBD would too.
Glenn Chu rchill
I will continue to be a strong voice for our region, enhancing the wellbeing, liveability, community spirit.
I am a huge supporter of GECC, Gladstone Region Art Gallery Museum, and the progressive development of the CBD as a food, entertainment and culture hub. Jumpstart City Heart Strategy was created to guide future development. .
With continued development of the waterfront East Shores Precinct, I am excited that the whole precinct to Goondoon St CBD, will connect one day. You can expect to see concept designs for Harbour Arbour this year.
I believe that the CBD needs to be the focus of not only the visitor economy, but also the business admin hub of the region. It's very difficult to lease many of the empty shops and buildings in the current climate, but if we can focus on catering for the foot traffic from the major hotels in the vicinity, along with the traffic the GECC, Library, and council chambers produce, we should have a very vibrant CBD.
The CBD is undergoing a major revamp with the support of higher levels of government. Combined with the extensions to East Shores, a new synergy will be created enlivening the CBD precinct. The world has changed, including doing business with our major anchors of the CBD, i.e. banks and financial institutions, so there is no easy fix. We will continue to try and attract private investment and improvements to our CBD. We must support our local bricks and mortar businesses during these tough economic times brought on by local, state, national and international factors.
I see the CBD continuing to develop as an office space, accommodation and entertainment precinct for Gladstone. While major retail outlets are provided in the major shopping centres, niche retail outlets will be an important part of this.
Council needs to continue to work in co-operation with land and business owners in the CBD to present as an attractive, safe area for community to gather.
Local business is generally small to medium size. They flourish if able to get on with their work without too onerous taxation being levied.
The council need to invest in community assets that support community engagement and recreational pursuits suited to the changing conditions we all face.
Last summer was almost unbearable for long periods of time, the ability to spend long periods outdoors was impossible for many. We need to create social engagement in our community through recreational, support and educational services, we need to create an all-abilities precinct catering for emotional, mental and isolation issues permeating our community. We need to create a place by and for locals.
Reinvigoration of local business and the CBD affects most regional cities. I will actively advocate for Council to give preference to local spend. This would not only put money directly into locals' pockets but would increase the liveability of the region, which contributes to investment across a range of industry sectors.
Supporting and improving our Local Content Policy to ensure support for local business and local jobs. Every dollar that is spent within our community stays and multiplies within our community. Constantly promoting and encouraging a Buy Local culture within local business and industry circles. We can support start-up initiatives and groups like the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Gladstone Engineering Alliance and others with initiatives that promote growth and development in this sector and bring people into the CBD.
• Encourage new and existing business by minimising fees.
• Revitalising space between East Shores and CBD (eg Harbour Arbour).
• Attract more cruise line activity to the port.
• Create food precincts attracting larger customer bases.
• Work with owners of existing empty real estate to get to a price point that will attract new business to the CBD.
• Encouraging existing business to reform CBD partnerships.
• Continuing to support Buy Local programs.
It will be hard to reinvigorate the CBD because it is a supply and demand situation, businesses need to have customers and the trade in the main street is not what it used to be. Landlords need to realise this and set realistic rents. CBDs in towns like ours can be very fluid anyway. A realistic approach needs to be taken to parking where genuine shoppers or diners can be encouraged to stay rather than be worried about parking fines. If we can encourage and get the right mix of businesses it should cure itself.
Without good parking and situated on a hill, the CBD will always be an issue.
Lorrain "Lori" May
I love the original main streets of towns, they capture the soul of a place; like a snapshot of a prosperous time in their history. Unfortunately carparking wasn't part of town planning back then. Encouraging new high-density residential development with conditions that public parking is included to address the lack of it and bring foot traffic to the area.
Council is taking part in a number of projects to beautify Goondoon Street and the CBD. These projects are under way or being finalised for financing. Unfortunately, the market is not in the best position at the moment and rental costs, set by property owners, are not affordable for many businesses. Working to stimulate the economy and attract sustainable investment will help to reinvigorate the CBD and our local businesses.
Kyle "Ocka" Beale
Local business is the backbone of our region. Council must ensure there is a streamlined and predictable approvals process to allow business to flourish and be willing to fight to promote local business interests on their behalf.